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Skullduggery in the Wildlife Photographer Comp


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#1 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 09:16 AM

Well it is either skullduggery on the part of the photographer or those trying to demean him. I don't know. :D But it amazes me someone would go to such lengths to either win, or to discredit the winner.

There have been a few dodgy entries in this comp over the last few years (possibly some with UW images) - leading to the organisers introducing a declaration of truth, which came in this year that entrants have to sign. If you are proved to have cheated, I think you are banned forever. ;)

For those that follow these things there has been some juicy gossip circulating recently about the overall winner. I stress I have no info if the article below is valid or not. But it is clear that winning overall is not always worth it, as it seems everyone wants to knock you. :vava:

The winner of this year's comp, which I think is a stunning picture, has already been criticised for having won a prize before (being HC in the Wild Wonders photo comp) although that photo was taken with a different camera (possibly at the same time), so AFAI understand it is not in breach of the letter of the rules.

But now there is another claim against it:
http://www.suomenluo...aud-allegations

I have no idea if this is substantiated despite coming from a well known source, but it makes an interesting read whether you think it was the photographer or the author of the article that is trying to deceive. :) :lol:

Alex

p.s. Having been involved in the judging of the Wetpixel/DPG/OUW International Comp I quickly realised how naive it is to assume that you can trust people to enter these big comps honestly.


EDIT 20th Jan 2009. The picture has now been disqualifed and the photographer now banned from entering again.

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#2 Elainew

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 09:35 AM

The drama!

#3 randapex

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 09:43 AM

Wow, well...as nothing is confirmed yet, it's hard to make much of a comment. I guess what comes to my mind is the question of a "wild" vs domestic critter. When I was in PNG, they had an Alligator farm and they would rent you one for I think about $200. The idea was to take photos of it underwater without the normal risk associated with the wild ones. I considered it but in the end was too cheap to do it. LOL. But there is some question in my mind about the authenticity of such shots as far as a contest entry. Thanksfully, only one person has asked me if I put that crab on top of the Jellyfish.... :lol:

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#4 Scubamoose

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 10:03 AM

Thanks for posting this article Alex! I have not heared about this case before, but I was amazed about the winning picture as a really really good one, when WPY announced the results. Hopefully they get to the bottom of this soon enough.

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#5 DeanB

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 10:19 AM

Bloody heck !!! ... There should now be a sub category for those who go to extreme lengths to win these contests ... The 'Skullduggery' award for cheats and photographers with evil intent ... Seriously its a shame (If true) that people will cheat for recognition ...

Alex ... Hows your studio tank full of trained, Bohar snapper doing ??? I hope your still looking after those talented fish :lol:

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#6 Tom_Kline

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 12:04 PM

Seems to me it would be tricky even to get a dog to do that, especially with the excess clearance.

FWIW I may have seen a wolf a few weeks ago driving on a gravel road up to a salmon spawning stream to do an UW shoot. It was the right color but a bit small. Had to have been a juvenile. I was told there is a nearby wolf family. It quickly went into the forest so I saw for just seconds when I was about 100m from it. I was very surprised to see it on the road but there were salmon carcasses in the area. It was early on a weekend day so I may have been the first person driving there (easier to determine when there is fresh snow and I make the first tracks). I have had a coyote approach me as well while I was snapping UW pix. Relative to canines, it is much more common for me to see bears on salmon shoots.

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#7 DeanB

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 12:29 PM

FWIW I may have seen a wolf a few weeks ago driving on a gravel road up to a salmon spawning stream to do an UW shoot.


A wolf driving is amazing enough but on its way to do a U/W shoot !!! ... Thats awesome ...

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#8 Tom_Kline

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 01:00 PM

A wolf driving is amazing enough but on its way to do a U/W shoot !!! ... Thats awesome ...

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DeanB


I am in Alaska so wolves are fairly common but wary. I see a lot of 'extra' wildlife on shoots, it takes some willpower to stay focused on my my subject. Time is usually the limiting factor.

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#9 Andy Morrison

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 02:50 PM

I am in Alaska so wolves are fairly common but wary. I see a lot of 'extra' wildlife on shoots, it takes some willpower to stay focused on my my subject. Time is usually the limiting factor.


I think he was making a joke about seeing the wolf actually driving to go and shoot underwater photos. :lol:

This will be interesting to see how it shakes out. I'm guessing one or more photographers have photographed this wolf, or at least one that looks a lot like it, and threw up the red flag after recognizing it. It could be a set up or simply a case of the photographer getting such a "perfect shot" that people don't believe it. Either way I am not a fan of baiting wildlife for a photo.

#10 DeanB

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 11:52 PM

I think he was making a joke about seeing the wolf actually driving to go and shoot underwater photos. :lol:


I'm thinking your are right ... I need to install my 'across the pond' joke translator !!!

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#11 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 12:54 AM

The other way of looking at it is that the shot was taken exactly as the photographer states and someone is going to extra-ordinary lengths to discredit him. Which I also find pretty amazing.

In any case, if the picture is proved to be outside the rules, I don't think anything will happen publicly. In the past pictures have been proved to be outside the rules and I have never seen the results amended.

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#12 adamhanlon

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 01:34 AM

I think this story has two sides:

Either the photographer has gone to extreme lengths in order to win the competition
or
someone has gone to extreme lengths to attempt to discredit him.

I think the fact is that on the day the judges chose that image as being the best that they had seen. I apreciate that they assumed various things about the image in order to award it first place, but it still doesn't detract from it being a great image. Sometimes I think that rules (although neccessary) can kind of detract from the images inherent quality.

I still like the picture!

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#13 RedSeaDiver

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 01:57 AM

I guess the obvious question is - was the photographer planning a nice shot of a gate for an architectural photo competition when a wolf got in the way and he found himself entering a wildlife comp instead or what happened?
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#14 Nakedwithoutcamera

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 05:51 AM

I guess the obvious question is - was the photographer planning a nice shot of a gate for an architectural photo competition when a wolf got in the way and he found himself entering a wildlife comp instead or what happened?

In his explanation of how he got the shot, he said there were a lot of wolves in the area and he set up his camera to take the shot remotely. I'm kind of surprised that photos triggered by the animals via an infrared trap weren't disqualified.
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#15 Tom_Kline

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 07:17 AM

I think he was making a joke about seeing the wolf actually driving to go and shoot underwater photos. :lol:

This will be interesting to see how it shakes out. I'm guessing one or more photographers have photographed this wolf, or at least one that looks a lot like it, and threw up the red flag after recognizing it. It could be a set up or simply a case of the photographer getting such a "perfect shot" that people don't believe it. Either way I am not a fan of baiting wildlife for a photo.



I was not diving on my shoot, but I did wade. I see a fair amount of wildlife so is it more of a fact, sort of like seeing a dolphin when on a dive trip. What would be funny wold be seeing a dolphin or other marine mammal in the stream. I could if I drove a boat over to a spawning stream - there is about a 100% possibility of seeing a sea otter. BTW, one of the streams I regularly shoot in is tidal. I have seen seals swim by where I was shooting at high tide. Missed a cool photo op. Seals as well in the lake that my 'wolf' stream drains in to.

I am bothered by the position of the front legs as well. I think the photographer could do a CYA by showing other pix from the same shoot. There must be an outtake or two.

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#16 Tom_Kline

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 07:20 AM

I guess the obvious question is - was the photographer planning a nice shot of a gate for an architectural photo competition when a wolf got in the way and he found himself entering a wildlife comp instead or what happened?


Ha ha!!
Sounds like what happened to me when I was shooting a flower and a hummingbird butted into the shot!

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#17 Drew

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 08:15 AM

Like Alex says, I doubt there'll be any publicized result from the investigation. It's too embarrassing for the competition and also opens them up to negative publicity. Now if someone has phone video of the faking or something as juicy and gives it to the Mirror, then it'll be really fun to watch!
Still many competitions blur the rules. No harassment policies are constantly flouted and ignored.
IR triggers aren't new. The snow leopard shot was done pretty much the same way. Now should there be a photographer present to shoot the shot? :lol:

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#18 Andy Morrison

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 08:34 AM

I was not diving on my shoot, but I did wade. I see a fair amount of wildlife so is it more of a fact, sort of like seeing a dolphin when on a dive trip. What would be funny wold be seeing a dolphin or other marine mammal in the stream. I could if I drove a boat over to a spawning stream - there is about a 100% possibility of seeing a sea otter. BTW, one of the streams I regularly shoot in is tidal. I have seen seals swim by where I was shooting at high tide. Missed a cool photo op. Seals as well in the lake that my 'wolf' stream drains in to.

I am bothered by the position of the front legs as well. I think the photographer could do a CYA by showing other pix from the same shoot. There must be an outtake or two.


Ok, one last time. I didn't say diving but driving. As in, the way you wrote the initial sentence it read as though the wolf were behind the wheel of the car and was driving to go and take underwater photos, the wolf that is. And we all know wolves don't drive cars, let alone shoot UW photos, therefore, it's funny. :lol:

On topic, I don't have a problem with camera traps per se, as sometimes that's the only way to get the shot, and if done properly, it shouldn't alter the animals behavior. Baiting, depending how it is done, can alter the animals behavior, and I think it's wrong.

As photographers we always strive to get the perfect shot. And it's always interesting when someone does get the perfect shot. Many people simply can't believe it to be true. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. But that's the world we live in now. People believe everything is done in Photoshop. So when you have a wolf jumping over a fence and it looks like it was shot in a studio, well, people are going to question it.

I also found it interesting that one of the judges is Jim Brandenburg, who I consider about the finest
wolf photographer in the world. It's a beautiful picture either way. But does it fit the rules?

I think the competition should let the results of the investigation be known publically either way. Most of the comps I enter are for photojournalism it's always a big deal when someone is caught cheating. It helps the integrity of the contest if they are honest and open about what is happening.

#19 Tom_Kline

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 09:19 AM

Ok, one last time. I didn't say diving but driving. As in, the way you wrote the initial sentence it read as though the wolf were behind the wheel of the car and was driving to go and take underwater photos, the wolf that is. And we all know wolves don't drive cars, let alone shoot UW photos, therefore, it's funny. :lol:


My bad!
Should have had a 'while' in the sentence. I am very poor at seeing mistakes until it is on hardcopy, being an old fart. Also I read driving as diving!!! :D

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#20 DeanB

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 10:01 AM

Now should there be a photographer present to shoot the shot? :lol:



I really think there should ... Or a separate category for remote controlled shots...

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